The Vivid Past!
Samhain, All Hallows Eve, Halloween, chances are almost no matter where you live. You celebrate or know someone who celebrates a day that remembers or honours the dead in some fashion. Almost every religion and civilization honour the dead in some form. Whether it’s Día de Muertos in Mexico, the ghost festival in China, or All Souls Day among Christians. But we will be talking specifically about Halloween’s History. Like how the Jack’ o Lanterns became a must as a part of the decorations. What started the Trick or Treat tradition, and most importantly, why the spooky costumes are so important to wear for this particular day. Read more to explore some amazing Halloween costume ideas
Halloween has largely come to mean a day of children asking for candy from neighbours in modern times. And adults making bad decisions at parties while wearing the most worn costume to this day, the Harley Quinn Halloween costume. But, the History of the holiday goes back much farther than this.
What We Can Find In The Old Books
Halloween gets its root from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. Samhain, the Gaelic word for November, originally meaning summer’s end, was a festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter.
What Our Mythologists Have To Say
Ireland and Scotland traditionally celebrate Halloween from Sunset on October 31 to sunset on November 1. Mythology states that celebrations of Samhain would feature alcohol, feasting and games, and would last up to a week.
Also check: https://puphood.co.uk
During Samhain, the doorways to the otherworld are open, and souls walkout. And spirits of the dead and other supernatural beings were free to enter our world. The spirits had both respected and feared. According to the Celts, the dead were responsible for the fate of their crops. Still, also, the spirits made it easier to predict the future. To appease the spirits, they would make large bonfires and throw crops or animals as sacrifices into the fire. They would also leave food outside their homes as offerings and set extra places at their tables for the spirits. Various rituals for predicting the future would occur, including roasting, hazelnuts, dream interpretation, and smoke reading.
The Roman Invasion
Eventually, the Roman Empire conquered much of the Celtic territory, and some of their festivals merged with that of Samhain. Parentalia, a festival held in honour of family ancestors, was merged with Samhain. Along with Pomona. Pomona is most commonly associated with apples. So this is likely where the bobbing for apple tradition came from.
All Hallows day
In 609 AD, Pope Boniface, the fourth, rededicated the Roman Temple of Pantheon to St. Mary and all the martyrs on May 13, known as All Hallows Day, meaning Saint. This coincided with the date of Lemuria, an ancient Roman pagan ritual of the dead. Over 200 years later, Pope Gregory, the fourth, would move the day from May to November 1, the same date to Samhain. However, it is a very fitting time for the holiday, as it’s a time when many things in nature die off. October 31 became recognised as All Hallows Eve, and November 2 became All Souls Day to commemorate all the dead. The three days were known as All Hallow Tide.
The Catholic Church
The Catholic Church likely adopted the holiday to replace the pagan festival of Samhain with a more church-sanctioned one. Although in Ireland, they celebrated All Saints Day on April 20. To avoid that very same connection. Traditions involved with All Hallow Tide included ringing church bells for souls in Purgatory. Pryor’s parade the streets dressed in black, and groups of poor people, especially children, going door to door and collecting special cakes. The soul cakes were baked for the dead souls. In exchange for praying for the dead, the collector sellers would take the cakes.
Confectionary for souls
Souls would eat the soul cake. As representatives of the dead, their loved ones would eat the cake too. This is likely the main inspiration for the modern tradition of trick or treating. Some would dress up as saints themselves or in costumes to avoid vengeful spirits identifying them. Earlier rituals of dressing as the dead came from such traditions. During the remaking of the Church of England, the Protestants attacked the customs of All Hollow Tide, as it was specifically incompatible with their theology. Before they could enter heaven, the souls of the dead were held in a state of limbo. This is what Catholics believed. As Protestants had discarded the notion of Purgatory, they came to believe that any spirits of the dead returning to Earth were, in fact, evil. Of course, not all Protestants believe this.
When It Became Halloween as we call it Today!
During this time, All Hallows Eve became known as Halloween, shortened from the hallowed evening. Back in Ireland and Scotland, the tradition of disguising began to take hold. Children dressed in disguises of spirits or supernatural beings went from door to door, often carrying a lantern made out of a scooped-out turnip and reciting verses or songs for food or coins. If the home gave food, it could expect good fortune in the future, and if not, it could expect misfortune. This reason, of course, led some youths to bring the misfortune themselves and began playing pranks on those who were not plentiful in their offerings. Placed outside homes were scooped out turnips and other root vegetables. To either represent spirits or scare them away candles were placed inside the vegetables. This eventually became the common tradition of setting out jack o’ lanterns.
How It Flooded America
For a while in North America, the traditions of Halloween did not catch on, largely due to the strong Protestant influence. However, in the 1800s, large amounts of Irish and Scottish immigrants came to America. They brought with them their traditions of disguising, parties, and decorating for the spirits. We have celebrated Halloween since the early 1900s.
The current influence
Over time, the industrialization and commercialization of America went to work. And Halloween became a highly profitable holiday filled with mass-produced costumes, decorations, activities and candy. In fact, around Halloween, over a quarter of all candy is sold in the United States. During this time, many had forgotten the associations with All Hollow Tied in the Christian influences. Instead, the holidays become more focused on communities and fascination with the dead and supernatural. Well, I could hardly cover the entire History of such a long-lived holiday. However, I hope I’ve given you an interesting look at a fascinating part of History.
It’s interesting to see how traditions and celebrations change over hundreds of years. Folklore, religious beliefs and common interests influence traditions. Halloween was meant to both celebrate the dead as well predict the future. Modern Halloween has forgotten many of its original intentions while still keeping much of the same feeling. Although it’s unlikely, Halloween will continue in its present form over the next 2000 years. Human beings will always have some fascination with the dead. We hope these tough times of COVID may pass soon so people can celebrate these events without any health concerns. Then, I will share some more fascinating Halloween costume ideas with you all.